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UAE pavilion at Milan Expo to showcase Emirati story of survival

posted on 19/04/2014

Work will begin this month to turn a sprawling site in the Italian city of Milan into the UAE Expo pavilion, complete with the towering dunes and shaded pathways of a desert city.

Organisers said building on the 4,386-square-metre site will be completed by February next year, with testing due to begin in April.

"The UAE plot is one of the biggest and it's in the heart of the Expo site,” said Peter Vine, director of the UAE Pavilion Project in Milan.

"The UAE is one of the first countries to get approval of its design for construction. We're working with prefabricated systems, so a lot will be built off site and brought in.”

Passing through a canyon-like entrance way, visitors will walk along winding streets and narrow passages evoking wadis or ravines. They will be guided to a cylindrical theatre, stroll under palm trees in an oasis and relax in a roof-top garden.

To mirror the ripple-effect of desert sand, dunes near Al Ain were photographed by a remote-controlled drone helicopter. A similar visual effect will be reproduced on 12-metre-high walls of glass reinforced with concrete to cover the main steel demountable structure.

The Emirati story of survival in harsh conditions will be tied in to the Milan Expo's theme of "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”.

The pavilion will show how the UAE can be part of a global solution by highlighting how its citizens overcame the scarcities of water, food and cultivable land.

"It needs to be a story that inspires,” Mr Vine said.

"Our main film, that will tell the story about one Emirati family, is very compelling. It looks at past and present challenges through the eyes of that family. The challenge is to create a unique Emirati presence so that when Emiratis come to the pavilion, they feel proud.”

The Milan Expo runs from May until October. After the world's fair ends, the pavilion will be dismantled and shipped back to its permanent home in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.

Architects have used material suitable for the cooler Milan climate and the heat of Abu Dhabi in the design as they strive to create an architectural legacy.

"The tall, narrow spaces between the walls echo the self-shaded streets of Masdar City and the thermal mass of the panels helps to regulate the temperatures in Milan and the Emirates,” said Gerard Evenden, the project's leading architect, from Norman Foster + Partners.

Low-maintenance glass-reinforced concrete walls and glazed facades will suit both a city and a dusty desert environment, he said. Additional solar shading may be added later in the UAE.

"As a national pavilion, the design expresses the landscape and architecture of the UAE in Milan, creating a unique and instantly recognisable structure – the colours of the sand and the forms and textures of historic structures are evocative of the desert,” he said.

"The landscaping around the pavilion is designed to echo the UAE's terrain and flora.”

The team has been busy testing mock-ups before construction.

"The geometry of the form is complex and we are using mock-ups of the envelope to test the dimensions, structure, materials and experience of the spaces for visitors,” Mr Evenden said.

"We are using computer algorithms to control the degrees of complexity that enable efficient production.”

The UAE's past strong performances in world fairs include a maritime-themed pavilion that won a silver medal in the 2012 Yeosu Expo, a dune-shaped pavilion that won the popular vote in Shanghai in 2010 while the country was among the top 10 pavilions at the Hannover Expo 2000.

First shown at Yeosu, the UAE's National Media Council's film The Turtle also won medals in international film festivals for plotting the journey of a turtle-rehabilitation programme through the voice of a young Emirati boy. – The National - Read more:

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Emirati student hopes to become volunteer at Milan Expo and tell her country’s story

posted on 19/04/2014

Stories of yesteryear and a people's struggle for survival can be part of an Emirati narrative at the Milan Expo, says a university student Sara Al Boom.

Aiming to be among a core group of 300 Emirati volunteers at the UAE pavilion in Italy next year, she said volunteers would also have personal accounts for visitors.

"The UAE is just four decades old and people tend to forget that. It's important for people to realise how far we have come and how we started out,” said Ms Al Boom, 21, a student at the American University of Dubai. "My grandfather was a pearl diver and I have heard so many stories about how he dedicated his life to searching for fish and pearls.

"He did this because he wanted his children and his family to survive. We hear the older generation speak about their experiences, how people relied on dates and palm trees.

"There is also the Emirati hospitality – when you enter someone's home you are offered food, beverage and even a place to stay. Stories like this connect to our culture.”

The Milan Expo expects to draw about 21 million visitors with more than 120 countries participating.

Emiratis can apply to be part of the UAE pavilion via the website

Applications will be sent to Takatof, the voluntary social programme that aims to encourage public service among the nation's youth.

Absorbing new cultures and spreading the word about the Emirates at the Milan Expo is Ms Al Boom's dream. She will also encourage her friends to sign up.

"I would be privileged to be a volunteer,” said Ms Al Boom, who was chosen in 2012 as one of a select band of eight ambassadors to promote awareness about the UAE's Expo 2020 bid among the public and in the corporate world.

She filmed a video capturing the diverse languages spoken by nearly 200 nationalities in the Emirates and it won her a spot as an Expo 2020 ambassador. Ms Al Boom's film showed residents writing out the theme "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” in languages including Urdu, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish and Sinhalese.

"The whole notion of travelling, engaging with people, exchanging cultural information, helping people understand how the UAE and Dubai are moving forward is a passion of mine,” she said.

"I will also be very excited to liaise with visitors in our pavilion in Italy. Young people can learn a lot by being exposed to different groups of people and gaining knowledge of other countries. It will also be good preparation for the young when we host the Expo in 2020.”

Italy and the UAE have a lot in common, said Ms Al Boom. "We share a lot with the Italians, like their love for family, religion and food,” she said. – The National - Read more:

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Sir Bani Yas Offshore Race kicks off with 70 sailing enthusiasts

posted on 19/04/2014

The first-ever Sir Bani Yas Offshore Race has been off to a great start as 70 sailing enthusiasts aboard 11 boats scrambled to take the lead in the exciting two-day nonstop race. They will be pitted not only against the open sea, but also against each other's experience as they sail to victory at the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club by Sunday, April 20. There, the victors will be crowned during a special celebration marking the end of this exhilarating week-long event, which is organised by Tourism Development '&' Investment Company (TDIC), in partnership with Anantara Hotels Resorts '&' Spas, Rotana Jet, Dubai Offshore Sailing Club (DOSC), and Volvo Ocean Race Abu Dhabi Stopover.

The Sir Bani Yas Offshore Race is the last of a series of races for the season by the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club. Featuring only UAE-based boats, sailors have previously raced off the shore of Abu Dhabi, Sir Abu Nair and Al Hamra. Shahrazad, one of the sailing boats participating in the race this weekend, is said to most likely be the big winner of the event.

"We're pleased to see this sailing event get off to such a spirited start. We've had the chance to sail the route and I must say, it is beautiful, challenging, and offers a great opportunity for the sailors to test their skills in a new navigational environment," said John Cole, Senior Asset Manager for Sir Bani Yas Corporate Operations at TDIC. "The significance of the race is in the fact that it opens up a new destination for sailors which had previously been unobtainable. It is a great platform to encourage more sailors to venture further than their own ports. This event has raised interest from sporting and sailing enthusiasts for Sir Bani Yas as both a location for water-based events and a leisure destination, expanding the island's reach beyond its current niche in the tourism sector," Cole added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Lubna Al Qasimi meets Dutch minister, UN officials

posted on 19/04/2014

Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of Development and International Co-operation met with the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade, Lilianne Ploumen at the sidelines of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation forum which was held in Mexico last week.

They discussed ways to accelerate cooperation in the fields of development and humanitarian assistance.

Sheikh Lubna also held meetings with officials from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Etihad Regional starts direct Geneva-Toulouse flights

posted on 19/04/2014

Etihad Regional has marked the start of a twice-weekly service linking Geneva in Switzerland, and Toulouse in south-western France.

Flight F7464 touched down at Toulouse-Blagnac airport yesterday at 4:40pm local time and the newly branded 50-seat Saab 2000 aircraft was greeted by a traditional water cannon salute.

This is Etihad Regional's first year-round route to France from its Swiss base. The airline already operates to Biarritz and Calvi during the summer season and will commence year-round operations to Bordeaux, Lyon and Marseille between May and June.

From May, Etihad Regional plans to operate a larger 68-seat ATR 72-500 aircraft on the Geneva-Toulouse route. From June, the airline will also increase the Geneva-Toulouse services to three flights per week.

Maurizio Merlo, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Regional, said: "We are very excited that we have started this new direct service, linking our Geneva hub with Toulouse.

"The new route is an important milestone in our strategy of expanding operations to key regional cities across Europe and providing travellers with greater choice.

"We are confident it will help boost business and leisure ties at both ends, in addition to flowing traffic on to the services offered by our partner, Etihad Airways." The new Geneva-Toulouse flights are timed to offer guests seamless connections through Geneva to Abu Dhabi and to cities across the globe.

Jean-Michel Vernhes, President of Toulouse-Blagnac airport, said, "We welcome Etihad Regional to Toulouse and are delighted that the new route not only enhances access to Geneva, but beyond to Abu Dhabi and a whole range of destinations.

"For business and leisure travellers from the Midi-Pyrénées

region, this route is important because it will improve connectivity between this part of France and the rest of the world, of which we are very supportive." – Emirates News Agency, WAM


GlobalFoundries partners with Samsung to produce next-generation chips for smartphones

posted on 19/04/2014

An Abu Dhabi-owned chip maker will produce the fastest, most energy efficient, semiconductors, that will enable the next generation of mobile devices, after a deal with Samsung.

GlobalFoundries, wholly owned by Mubadala's Advanced Technology Investment Company, and the Korean smartphone and TV manufacturer yesterday announced a partnership to mass produce the chips by the end of year.

The process, developed by Samsung and licensed to GlobalFoundries, utilises a three-dimensional design and results in chips that are 20 per cent faster, 35 per cent more efficient and 15 per cent smaller than those produced with the current industry standard "20nm planar” platform.

Media reports last year said that Samsung would provide the processor for Apple's iPhone 7 due in 2015 using 14 nanometer technology.

Rival Intel had seemingly been ahead in the development of this technology but the gap has narrowed after Samsung invested billions in both R&D and facilities development over the last two years.

"The industry's most advanced 14nm FinFET technology will be available … with volume production at Samsung's fabs in Hwaseong, Korea and Austin, Texas, as well as GlobalFoundries fab in Saratoga, New York,” a joint statement from the companies said. A human hair is 75,000nm in width.

According to the Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, the number of transistors that can be placed on a chip at the same cost will double about every two years. This is known as Moore's Law and so far this has roughly been the case in the decades since the idea was proposed.

"The work that GlobalFoundries and Samsung are doing together will help AMD deliver our next generation of ground-breaking products with new levels of processing and graphics capabilities to devices ranging from low-power mobile devices, to next-generation dense servers to high-performance embedded solutions,” said Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of Global Business Units at AMD, for which GlobalFoundries produces chips.

GlobalFoundries is the world's second largest foundry after Taiwan's TSMC.

"Today's announcement is further proof of the importance of collaboration to enable continued innovation in semiconductor manufacturing,” said GlobalFoundries chief executive Sanjay Jha. "With this industry-first alignment of 14nm FinFET production capabilities, we can offer greater choice and flexibility to the world's leading fabless semiconductor companies, while helping the fabless industry to maintain its leadership in the mobile device market.”

The company began life as the manufacturing arm of chipmaker AMD, before being spun off as a separate entity in 2009. AMD fully exited the venture in 2012, leaving Atic as the sole shareholder.

Samsung employs 286,000 people across 80 countries and has annual sales of more than US$200 billion. – The National - Read more:

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Nahyan opens Make-A-Wish's Break an Egg Campaign

posted on 19/04/2014

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, yesterday opened the Break an Egg Campaign, a charity event organised at Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Art Hub to raise money for Make-A-Wish Foundation, which fulfils the dreams of children suffering from serious illnesses.

In his opening remarks, Sheikh Nahyan said the exhibition which brought together 18 local, regional and international artists commissioned by Abu Dhabi Art Hub to depict their interpretation of The Egg in replicas on behalf of the charity, represented a new and non-traditional idea.

Each one of the artists used 50cm by 35cm fibre-glass eggs as their canvas to interpret the concept of eternal youth, transformation and new beginnings.

"It is necessary to move away from routine in search of renewal, innovation and development. The participating artists showed their solidarity with children with serious illnesses, who need medical, psychological and humanitarian support, regardless of their faith, language or race," Sheikh Nahyan said urging for promoting the culture of giving in order to contribute to the alleviation of calamities facing humanity today.

The campaign which runs to the end of April features both a live exhibition to the public and a private auction of the life-sized eggs at a later date of to raise money for Make-A Wish Foundation.

Participating Emirati artists included Mohammed Al Astad, Azza Al Qubaisi, Sumayyah Al Suwaidi, Wafa Khazendar and Sheikha Alyazia bint Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE-funded food programme in Afghanistan adds iodine to salt to reduce deaths

posted on 19/04/2014

Kabul: A large-scale Food Fortification Programme in Afghanistan, funded by the UAE's Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation (KBZF) and implemented by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), is providing iodine to 29 salt factories in Afghanistan in an effort to reduce deaths and disabilities associated with nutritional deficiencies, particularly among women and children.

29 factories across Afghanistan produce around 130,000 tonnes of salt per year which need to be purified and mixed with iodine.

The international partnership, which also involves the World Food Programme (WFP), will reach approximately 15 to 18 million Afghans, mainly children, women and pregnant women, with nutritionally fortified wheat flour, vegetable oil and ghee. The project is expected to complete by the end of 2015.

The partnership aims to reduce the prevalence of vitamin and mineral deficiencies among the general population and vulnerable groups such as children under five and women of reproductive age, through a project supporting the Government's Nutrition Action Framework to address malnutrition. The goal of the project is to increase the amount of vitamins and minerals in people's daily diets and to reduce disabilities related to insufficient nutrients by 30 percent.

GAIN is providing financial support and technical expertise to produce the fortified foods, monitor their quality, create demand and develop technical guidelines for fortification.

Towards this end, GAIN office in Kabul is holding a series of meetings with government representatives and food producers and conducting training workshops on stable foods like flour wheat, vegetable oil, ghee, and iodised salt.

GAIN Kabul office, late last year, met representatives of nine ministries and government-related entities and Afghan Iodised Salt Producers Association (AISPA) and briefed them on the progress of the salt iodisation programme.

Afghan Minister of Public Health Mrs. Suraya Dalil expressed her profound thanks for Khalifa Foundation, affirming that the UAE is a key donor to Afghanistan's socio-economic development. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Chief of Staff discusses military cooperation with Moroccan Inspector General of the Royal Armed Forces

posted on 19/04/2014

Rabat: Lt. General Hamad Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi, Chief of Staff of UAE Armed Forces, yesterday met with General Abdelaziz Bennani, Inspector General of the Royal Armed Forces of Morocco, during an official visit to Rabat.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed aspects of military cooperation between the two countries, ways of promoting them and matters of common interest.

An official delegation of high-ranking officers accompanied Lt. General Rumaithi in his official Morocco visit during which he met with Moroccan officials.

Lt. General Al Rumaithi, expressed his delight at visiting Morocco and the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to UAE delegation. He also hailed the progress being achieved by Morocco.

Upon his arrival in Morocco last Tuesday, Lt. General Al Rumaithi was received by UAE Ambassador to Morocco, Al Asri Saeed Al Dhaheri, Deputy Military Attaché at UAE Embassy and a number of high-ranking Moroccan military officers. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Government relations department established in Sharjah

posted on 19/04/2014

His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah has issued Amiri decree no. 36 for 2014, establishing the Department of Government Relations in the emirate.

According to the decree, a law regulating the new department's tasks, objectives and mandate shall be issued.

The decree shall be effective from the date of publishing in the official gazette. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Emotional scenes as peace convention begins

posted on 19/04/2014

There were emotional scenes as four people embraced Islam amidst thunderous applause during the Dubai International Peace Convention (DIPC) on Thursday.

Islamic slogans rang out each time as three women and a man visiting DIPC took their ‘declaration of faith', which was witnessed by thousands during the course of the event.

The three-day DIPC, taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre, features a dozen famous Muslim preachers and public speakers, who reinforce the central Islamic tenet of justice for all faiths and people.

The event is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

It was not immediately clear if Thursday's fresh converts to Islam were residents or visitors to Dubai. One woman identified herself as Argentinian while the others appeared to be of south-east Asian origin.

Their acceptance to Islam came during question and answer sessions between speaker presentations. They said they had been interested in Islam and wondered what steps were needed to accept the religion.

One woman who became Muslim was moved to tears as she repeated after speaker Mufti Esmail Menk the declaration of faith in Arabic and English.

Willingly saying with firm belief that ‘There is no-one worthy of worship besides Allah and Mohammad is his worshipper and messenger' is all one needs to enter the Muslim faith, Menk told the converts. The Zimbabwean motivational speaker added that he and other Muslims would be at hand to provide further guidance on Islam to the new believers.

Similar scenes have previously taken place at Islamic events in Dubai. In 2013, a number of people accepted Islam during the Ramadan Forum that also provided free presentations on Islamic topics to residents of all faiths.

"Islam is a knowledge-based religion,” Menk told the converts and the audience. "The more you learn about it, the more you love it.”

More than 27,000 people had registered to attend DIPC before its opening on Thursday night.

During his talk on ‘The Religion of Peace', Menk said Islam stood against violence but some people "hijack Islam and use it for their gain.

"We've so many people fighting in the name of peace — is that Islam? This has been completely misunderstood. Educate yourself, it's all about learning. Never let anyone use you in what is clandestine.”

Menk gave a number of examples where Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and his companions treated non-Muslims kindly and ‘leaned towards peace' even when targeted by opponents. He also quoted verses of the Quran prohibiting unlawful fighting.

He added the one of the meanings of the word Islam itself is peace and the Muslim greeting starts with "peace be upon you. Will you then harm someone after greeting them with Salam [peace]? Every single one of us has rights over others, and others have rights over us, regardless of [being] Muslim or non-Muslim.”

His presentation was followed by a talk by US speaker Yousuf Estes, a former priest who accepted Islam.

Estes said it was peace and not material wealth that all people actually seek most in life — whether they are consciously aware of it or not.

He quoted the Islamic saying ‘If man was given a mountain of gold, he would want another one' to illustrate what he described as a never-ending cycle of wanting more of everything.

"Everything in the material world goes away... I've seen those things, I've had those things,” Estes said. "But I couldn't find that peace. No matter what I did, it didn't come.

"I was looking for ‘success, success, success'. That means getting what you want. But happiness is to want what you have. And Islam is the ultimate success.”

Estes, who once wanted to turn a Muslim man into a non-Muslim, added that he eventually decided to accept Islam after seeing "peace on [Muslims'] faces after putting their head on the ground in salah [ritual prayer].

"It was through this example — of following the example of Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him — that helped me to get to Islam.” – Gulf News -


UAE media progressing impressively on strong fundamentals

posted on 19/04/2014

The UAE media is centred on strong rules and guiding principles in its march to progress and prosperity with a focus on offering creative and high-quality content.

The Sharjah Media Corporation, or SMC, reaffirmed that the UAE media has continued to thrive and has made impressive progress, thus becoming one of the most prominent experiences in the Gulf and the entire region.

The UAE media is centred on strong rules and guiding principles in its march to progress and prosperity with a focus on offering creative and high-quality content with the utilisation of the latest global technology that cater to the needs and interests of the various sectors of the public. The remarks came after the SMC concluded its participation in the 2014 NAB show — a premier global trade show in the field of visual and audio technologies and digital media — which was held at the Las Vegas Convention Centre in Nevada.

Revolving around the theme "Where Content Comes to Life”, the five-day show was held with the broad participation of media industry leaders and technological, engineering and media companies from all over the world.

The SMC delegation included a number of officials representing financial and administrative affairs and professionals in the sports field, namely Shehab Ahmed Al Hammadi, director of the Financial Department; Rashid Al Obad, head of the Sharjah Sports Channel; Manaf Hannonah, director of the Engineering Department; and Ateej Mohammed, programme director at the Sharjah Sports Channel. The delegation made use of the opportunity to gain a deeper insight into the latest advancements in the field of broadcasting equipment in order to implement them in developing the corporation's engineering strategies in line with its continued development plans to keep up-to-date and ensure cutting cost and the effective and efficient use of modern equipment to keep pace with the global technological advancement.

The delegation also learned about the new technological solutions and the best practices adopted in the development and management of human resources and engineering. On the field of sports broadcasting, the delegation familiarised itself with sports-analysing solutions to be used in developing the presentation of sports programmes, including the use of a minimum number of cameras that ensure greater coverage in the future, as well as engineering solutions for the various sports programmes.

The SMC is considering some available options identified by the delegation during its visit, to build future agreements in accordance with its approaches to update its various systems, expand the scope of television and radio broadcasting, and opening new channels in the future. – Khaleej Times -§ion=uaebusiness